Those who know me, follow me on Social Media or have been gifted with a taste of this thing of beauty know that I make Spicy Ramen. It’s become one of my specialties and a treat that my daughter and I look forward to every week.
I think the first batch of Ramen was inspired by the first time I’d tried Pho. My daughter and I had just moved into our own cute little apartment and we were experimenting with all the things we could eat without catering to a picky eater’s palate. My daughter and I are both pretty adventurous eaters and we’d recently tried a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves Pho, so I remember suggesting Ramen, and since we both thought it sounded good, the first batch was born. It was simple, it was pretty bland, but it had tons of potential and each Sunday when I would make a new batch I would tweak a little here and there until we felt like we’d found the perfect level of spice and flavor.
I usually start Ramen early in the morning on Sunday with some raw chicken in the crock pot with either some chicken stock or some “base” I’d frozen from the previous Sunday’s recipe. Then I add some chopped Leeks & Bok Choy that I pre-chop and freeze specifically for Ramen Sunday. Then comes the spices, I start with a 3 or 4 dried red chili’s, the really hot ones, and I break them in half to release their heat. Then I add fresh garlic, salt & pepper, cayenne pepper, fish sauce, and depending on how full it is, I sometimes add more reduced sodium chicken stock. Then I cover it and let it cook low and slow all day. Right before we are ready to dig in, we put some bricks of store-bought ramen noodles (the super cheap stuff, but we throw out the poison “flavor” packet) in a bowl and ladle the broth over it and let it bloom into Ramen goodness. We both like to top our Ramen with cilantro, green onions and lime and I like Hoisin sauce too.
So you might be wondering – Hey Wendi, it’s Wednesday! Whatcha doing making Ramen tonight? Well, this is special Ramen. You see, I have a co-worker who is pretty sick and battling a pretty brutal disease, and our workplace is full of people who are good at a bunch of different things, but one thing we are GREAT at is coming together when one of our “family” is in need. So tomorrow we are having a Soup Potluck. Each of us is preparing and bringing a different home-made soup to share and also package up portions of each soup for our sick friend to freeze in order to have a hot meal full of love when she doesn’t feel like cooking.
Not to worry about the spicy Ramen either, I made a “soft-batch” with no chili’s or cayenne, but still chock full of lots of love. Then I made a “brutal-batch” for the rest of us. I can’t wait to dig in to the wonderful different types of soups everyone will be brining. I can’t express enough what a wonderfully generous work family we have and how when one of use needs help, they step up and circle the wagons. They did that for me when I ended my marriage and we will do this for our Sister Co-Worker.
It’s just what we do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.